PR body ejects former UUP peer Lord Laird after sting

Lord John Laird
Lord John Laird

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has confirmed that it has terminated the membership of Lord Laird, in the wake of a media sting into his lobbying conduct.

In December the former UUP peer said he accepted – but did not agree with – his four-month suspension from the Lords for offering to set up an influential all-party parliamentary group for payment.

The ruling followed a probe by the Sunday Times which recorded the peer discussing the creation of an all-party group on solar energy with reporters.

But now the CIPR says it has taken summary action to terminate the membership of the PR professional.

The CIPR pointed to its charter regulations allowing the body to dismiss a member “if in the course of his profession he is found to have breached the rules of a regulatory or other authority by which he is bound, and it is decided… that the breach is sufficiently serious to justify the termination of his institute membership”.

In December Lord Laird said of his suspension from the Lords: “I accept the verdict but I don’t agree with it. I don’t understand it because I agreed to nothing and I did not accept anything.”

The UUP, which has withdrawn the party whip from the Lord, last night declined to comment on his ejection from the CIPR.